There was a lot of storytelling going on in our house: family stories, gossip, what happened to the people left behind in China. The gossip about people’s character that went around as my aunt and my mother shelled peas on the dining table covered with newspaper. Overhearing things being said in Chinese that I wasn’t supposed to understand — which is the only reason I understand some Shanghainese and Mandarin. And being told there were certain books I couldn’t read, which made me go out deliberately and find those books.